Thursday, January 26, 2012

Back in the Kitchen: Southern-Style Chicken and Dirty Rice

Hi, friends! Can you believe I'm back for the third week in a row? I'm pretty proud of myself! It's a lot less than I was posting this summer, but better than once a month. I'm hoping to keep up the once a week post from here on out. But I make no promises.

Let's start with updates first, and then we'll get into the chicken and dirty rice. My TOMS arrived yesterday! Holla! (I hope the exclamation points adequately display my excitement!!)

Aren't they adorable? I am sooo ready to bust these out this spring. Bring on the warm weather!

In other news, Jesse and I went to Johns Hopkin's for the day for my pre-op appointment. We heard about what to expect the day of my surgery, I filled out a bajillion-page packet about myself, and gave some blood. Everything went pretty well, with the exception of the wait times between each part of my appointment (we were there for nearly 4 hours!), but the scariest part was finding out that I'll be in the neuro-critical care unit for the first night after my surgery. I guess it's good to know that they'll be monitoring everything so closely, but I have a feeling it means I'll be in a lot of pain. Boo. On the bright side, I'll have Jesse, my parents and his parents all there taking care of me. I feel very lucky that I'll have so many people nearby!

Enough of the scary stuff, let's talk about chicken and rice. I love that there are so many variations of this combination. When my mom was here a few weeks ago, she not only made my favorite chicken and rice casserole, she also made an amazing chicken and wild rice soup. You would think that two chicken and rice meals would be enough to satisfy my cravings, but as you can probably tell by the title of this post, I still wanted more.

In an attempt to ease back into the kitchen, while also getting more of my chicken and rice fill, I decided to try a slow cooker recipe for southern-style chicken and dirty rice. I found the recipe in the cookbook Slow Cooker Revolution, which was a Christmas present from my sister-in-law and brother-in-law (thanks, Corina & Neil!).

This recipe takes a little more work than some slow-cooker dishes, due to the fact that you brown the kielbasa and vegetables before adding them to the slow cooker, but it's definitely worth the effort! Sautéing the kielbasa makes everything smoky, meaty and deep in flavors. YUM!

I was really happy with the results of this dish and I'm excited that I have one more recipe to add to my slow cooker repertoire!

How about you, do you think you'll give this version of chicken and rice a try? Do you have any go-to slow cooker recipes? I want to add more slow cooker recipes into the rotation, so I'd love to hear about some of your ideas!

Southern-Style Chicken and Dirty Rice
Adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution

Serves: 6 to 8
Time: 4 to 6 hours

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8-12 ounces turkey kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch pieces*
1 onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper**
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth***
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
salt and pepper
2 cups instant brown rice
2 scallions, sliced thin (optional)

Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown sausage well, about 3 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, thyme, chili powder, and cayenne and cook until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for one minute. Slowly whisk in broth, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps.

Meanwhile, season chicken with salt and pepper and add to slow cooker. Pour the vegetable and kielbasa mixture over the chicken, stir, cover with a lid and cook until chicken is tender, 4 to 6 hours on low.

Break-up chicken into bite-size pieces using wooden spoon (or two forks). Stir in rice and 1 teaspoon salt, cover, and cook on high until rice is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with scallions and serve.

*The original recipe called for 8 ounces of regular kielbasa sausage, but I substituted with the Trader Joe's 12 oz. turkey kielbasa and couldn't tell the difference.
**Cayenne pepper adds spice to this dish, but we found that 1/8 teaspoon wasn't enough for our liking. If you like mild dishes, I would leave the recipe along. Otherwise, I recommend adding another 1/8 teaspoon to the recipe.
**The original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups chicken broth and white rice, but I used brown rice. I noticed that the rice absorbed all of the cooking liquid before the 20 minutes was up, so I wish I would've used more chicken broth. If using brown rice, I recommend adding another 1/4 cup chicken broth to the mixture.

1 comment:

  1. spring!? girl, it's nice enough these days to rock those TOMS... i wear mine several days a week! mine are black, though... maybe easier to rock in the winter months. yours are super cute, though!!


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